Chavez working on throwing program
A's trying to keep third baseman on track for 2008 return
OAKLAND -- It's not too often an athlete offers a straight-up, no-messing-around-type of message when talking about an injury. Sugarcoating a significantly strained hamstring or a sore elbow is common, but Eric Chavez has been around the game long enough to know there's no point in dancing around the truth when it comes to injuries.
So on Friday, the A's third baseman made it no secret that his inflamed right shoulder is not only cause for concern regarding the remainder of the season, but for his career as well.
"To be honest with you, I'm just dealing with a really bad shoulder," he said. "There are a lot of things going on with it. The way my shoulder's been for my career, I don't see it improving."
When talking about the shoulder that has kept him on the disabled list since July 2 -- his second lengthy injury stint of the season -- Chavez expressed a sense of uncertainty. On Saturday, though, head athletic trainer Stephen Sayles offered some answers -- not about the third baseman's future, but about what Chavez will be doing to hopefully ensure himself of one on the baseball field.
"He'll be doing a throwing program to get him back playing," Sayles said. "We'll get a feel for how he's doing."
It was the 30-year-old Chavez's second consecutive day of throwing, and on Saturday he threw 25 balls from 60 feet, a distance Sayles hopes will expand during the next couple of weeks. Throwing, however, is what aggravates Chavez's shoulder the most.
"He'll progress relatively quickly with hitting as opposed to throwing," Sayles said. "Today he's hitting off the tee, and then he'll go to soft toss and live hitting as soon as he feels comfortable."
Keeping Chavez on track is only part of the job, though. Sayles said his job responsibilities expand well beyond the realms of physical exercise.
"I always try to keep them positive," he said. "That's part of my job. You have to work a little harder to keep them positive."
All is well and good with rehab plans, but what A's fans really want to know is if they will see their favorite third baseman back at the hot corner by season's end.
"I'd just like to wait and see what happens," Sayles said. "I don't like to predict. Predictions get you in trouble.
"We're looking for the silver lining."
Jane Lee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.